Swanfall: Journey of the Tundra Swan

Swanfall: Journey of the Tundra Swan

by Tom Horton

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tundra swans split their year between the wetlands of Alaska's North Slope in summer and Chesapeake Bay in winter--with an intense migratory marathon linking the two habitats. ``Swanfall'' refers to ``the glorious return of the swans'' to their winter home, when ``the birds seem almost to drop from the sky.'' In an attempt to document this nearly 4000-mile odyssey, environmental journalist Horton crams his book with so many extraneous details that the beauty of the migration is lost. Swanfall uses very dense imagery and vocabulary--``chevron,'' ``skirling''--that are beyond the intended audience. Changes in point of view prove confusing, and the writing itself frequently is awkward and overblown--the swans' cries ``caused people in the city streets to pause and look skyward, held for a moment by a feeling so old and deep they could not explain it much better than the dogs could their barking.'' While Harp's photographs are striking, their repetition and similarity may dull rather than stimulate viewers' enthusiasm. Ages 7-10. (Nov.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-- A book with a narrative rich in poetic style. The cyclic migratory journey of the tundra swans (formerly known as whistling swans) is documented from ``swanfall'' into their winter home on the Chesapeake Bay to summer breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra. Facts about physical characteristics and behavior are interwoven into a text filled with picturesque phrases describing the beauty of both the birds and their habitats. Awareness of the impact of humans on the bay habitat, resulting changes in swan behavior, and evidence that in nature only the strongest of a species survive are poignantly presented. Full-color double-page and closeup photographs of clarity and exceptional lighting illuminate the swans' beauty. Simple, dotted-line borders of blue effectively frame the well-spaced text. Because the book is more of a mood piece than a report source, it will find its audience in readers with a special interest in waterfowl and their natural environments. --Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ

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Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

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